If you’re a soda addict, or have a weakness for sugary drinks, quitting cold turkey and opting for a tasteless, sugar-free beverage like water can seem very unappealing. Unfortunately, diabetes is not sympathetic to our sugary desires.

To reduce our risk of diabetes and other chronic illnesses, we have to put a cap on how much sugary drinks we choose to consume. This is much easier when we have some facts and figures to support this lifestyle change. It turns out that there’s on simple change we can make with our eating habits to significantly improve our health.

You – One Sugary Drink = ?

A study published by the European Journal Diabetologia revealed that replacing one sugary drink with water , unsweetened coffee, or unsweetened tea can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14-25%!

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The study took 25,000 U.K. men and women between the ages of 40-79 and had them keep a food diary for seven consecutive days. The diary included the type of drinks the participants consumed, the amount and frequency of the portions, and whether sugar was added to the beverages or not.

The study followed up with the participants for 11 years. During this time, 847 participants were diagnosed with new-onset type 2 diabetes. The researchers assessed the dietary logs of the participants and took into account body mass index and waist girth.

Researchers also discovered that for each 5% increase of a person’s total energy intake provided by sweet drinks, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes could rise up to 18%.

It’s not surprising that sugary drinks can increase your risk of diabetes, nor is it surprising that omitting sugary drinks from your diet can lower your risk of diabetes, but the difference that one, or the absence of one, sweet drink could have such an impact on your health is truly astonishing.

This Includes Sweetened Milk As Well

The study revealed that substituting sweetened milk with water or unsweetened tea/coffee decreases your risk of diabetes by an additional 20-25%.

Consuming drinks with artificial sweeteners won’t get you off the hook either. The researchers found no significant link between consuming artificially sweetened drinks and a reduction in risk for type 2 diabetes.

What Drinks To Avoid

There are a whole bunch of gimmicks that companies use to get you to buy their products, and piggy backing on the health food industry is no exception. Here are drinks with a high sugar content that you should avoid:

  • Soda – both regular and diet.
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices – particularly pre-made, store-bought beverages. Sugars are often added to these drinks to preserve shelf life.
  • Iced Tea – similar to store-bought fruit and vegetable juices, sugar is often added to this beverage to preserve shelf life.
  • Energy Drinks – many are loaded with sugar and other unhealthy additives to give you a burst of energy.
  • Sweetened Milk – this includes chocolate milk and strawberry milk.

Substitute these beverages for water, unsweetened coffee or unsweetened tea. You can gradually decrease the amount of sugar you add to your coffee/tea if cutting sugar out instantly is too big of a step. For more information on the study, visit CTV news.

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